Risk Insider: Tim Kania

The Need for Technical Expertise in Energy

By: | July 10, 2017 • 2 min read
Tim Kania is the Global Head of Energy & Construction at Aspen Insurance. Prior to Aspen, Tim served as SVP of Energy & Construction at Liberty International Underwriters, and has held previous underwriting and engineering roles at Munich Re, Starr, AIG, Swiss Re and Fireman’s Fund. He is a licensed professional engineer for fire protection engineering and has earned various accreditations from the Insurance Institute of America.
Topics: Energy | Risk Insider

Risks associated with the energy sector are growing in magnitude and complexity. Volatile commodity prices, an ever-changing regulatory environment, aging infrastructure, new technologies, and acquisitions and mergers are primary factors that impact risk profiles for facilities and systems in the energy sector.

The need for technical expertise to help firms manage risk in the energy segment has never been greater. Many companies are taking an essential proactive approach to address this expanded risk profile. On the carrier side, insurance professionals are assisting clients by bringing the full value of technical proficiency to support them, including risk engineers that partner with claims professionals and underwriters to assess risks and collaborate to provide custom risk solutions.  This team approach, coupled with a detailed understanding of loss history and prior experience of technical underwriters, contributes to a thorough client risk analysis.

It is important to note that custom risk solutions for energy clients require frequent reviews and periodic updates over time

There are numerous actions a valued insurance partner can offer to assist energy clients with a comprehensive approach to managing their constantly evolving risks. Risk engineers have historically been welcomed by clients to survey energy facilities, evaluate process safety management procedures, present recommendations, consult about capital projects, and develop loss estimates. Coupling risk engineering information with client and industry claims data can greatly assist the client to prioritize risk mitigation and reduction activities and capital expenditure.

It is important to note that custom risk solutions for energy clients require frequent reviews and periodic updates over time. For example, the recent shale gas revolution in North America has shifted feedstocks used to manufacture certain petrochemicals, creating pressure on the production of some that generate less favorable margins.

The systemic risk associated with a disruption in production and transportation of petrochemicals is therefore constantly changing. An experienced technical underwriter, aligned with engineering and claims, can utilize their broad industry knowledge to help clients ensure they have the proper coverage in place as the risk landscape evolves.

Working with a specialist approach to risk assessment in the energy space often revolves around partnership, since collaborating with the broker and client to fully comprehend their exposures can help to develop the most appropriate solution to managing risk. Specialist underwriters can deploy their risk engineers to suggest best practices on risk management and specific mitigation strategies to assist a client in addressing ongoing risks.

This technical process of risk analysis helps a specialist underwriter through interaction with a broker to provide custom solutions that address the complex risk landscape for energy clients. In doing so, an underwriter may consider offering additional capacity for a particular risk, or consider providing specific coverages to develop the right solution for a client’s unique profile. This collaborative approach aims to deliver the most long-term value to the client.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2017 Risk All Stars

Immeasurable Value

The 2017 Risk All Stars strengthened their organizations by taking ownership of improved risk management processes and not quitting until they were in place.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 3 min read

Being the only person to hold a particular opinion or point of view within an organization cannot be easy. Do the following sound like familiar stories? Can you picture yourself or one of your risk management colleagues as the hero or heroine? Or better yet, as a Risk & Insurance® Risk All Star?


One risk manager took a job with a company that was being spun off, and the risk management program, which was built for a much larger company, was not a good fit for the spun-off company.
Rather than sink into inertia, this risk manager took the bull by the horns and began an aggressive company intranet campaign to instill better safety and other risk management practices throughout the organization.

The risk manager, 2017 Risk All Star Michelle Bennett of Cable One, also changed some long-standing brokerage relationships that weren’t a good fit for the risk management and insurance program. In her first year on the job she produced premium savings and in her second year is in the process of introducing ERM company-wide.

Or perhaps this one rings a bell. The news is trickling out that a company is poised to dramatically expand, increasing the workforce three- or four-fold. Having this knowledge with certainty would be a great benefit to a risk manager, who could begin girding safety, workers’ comp and related programs accordingly. But things sometimes don’t work that way, do they? Sometimes the risk manager is one of the last people to know.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance.

In the case of 2017 Risk All Star winner Steve Richards of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the news of an expansion spurred him to action. He completely overhauled the company’s workers’ compensation program and streamlined its claim management system. The results, even with a much higher headcount, were reduced legal costs, better return-to-work experiences for injured workers and a host of other improvements and savings.

The Risk All Star Award recognizes at its core, creativity, perseverance and passion. The 13 winners of this year’s award all displayed those traits in abundance. Sometimes it took years for a particular risk solution, as promoted by a risk manager, to find acceptance.

In other cases a risk manager got so excited about a solution, they never even considered getting turned down. They just kept pushing until they carried the day.


Butler University’s Zach Finn became obsessive about what he felt was a lackluster effort on the part of the insurance industry to bring in new talent. The former risk manager for the J.M. Smucker Co. settled on the creation of a student-run captive to give his risk management students the experience they would need to get hired right out of college.

The result was a better risk management program for the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and immediate traction in the job market for Finn’s students.

A few of our Risk All Stars told us that the results they are achieving were decades in the making. Only by year-in, year-out dedication to gaining transparency about her co-op’s risks and learning more and more about her various insurance carriers, did Growmark Inc.’s Faith Cring create a stalwart risk management and insurance program that is the envy of the agricultural sector. Now she’s been with some of her insurance carriers more than 20 years — some more than 30 years.

Having the right idea and not having a home for it can be a lonely, frustrating experience. Having the creativity, the passion and perhaps, most importantly, the perseverance to see it through and get great results makes you a Risk All Star. &


Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.

See the complete list of 2017 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]